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BBVA and the IMDEA Software Institute to explore advanced cryptography

Spain's multinational bank The Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (BBVA) has teamed up with Madrid-based research center IMDEA Software Institution to research advanced cryptography for financial services.

The announced partnership will focus mainly on zero-knowledge proofs (ZKPs), and both parties have agreed to make use of each other's technologies and research to get the best results as soon as quickly as possible.

Through this collaboration, the institutions are to research the application and potential of cryptographic technology in the development of digital products and services whilst ensuring the privacy, anonymity, and security of all users' data.

The press release of May 4 revealed that the study will also see into the development of viable prototypes that eventually could be included in digital solutions used by the BBVA customers.

"Until recently, these cryptographic techniques were only of interest on a theoretical level. In recent years, we have seen enormous advances that could make them applicable to some practical scenarios”, said IMDEA’s researcher Antonio Faonio.

The first stage of the project will focus on the challenges of adopting zero-knowledge proofs, such as integrating ZKPs into existing communications systems and the lack of guidelines for using cryptographic protocols. Both BBVA and IMDEA say to have gained a considerable amount of knowledge in the area of KKPs by now.

The Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria holds that the Covid-19 pandemic has only accentuated the advantages of technologies designed to protect data privacy.

Carlos Kuchkovsky, the head of research and patents at BBVA, suggests that “There is a growing need to develop technological solutions that allow us to protect the information we share when consuming digital services in our everyday lives".

He continued by saying that “This need has become even more tangible as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, which is demonstrating the need for robust data protection systems given the growing number of cyber attacks and the use of apps that register users’ data to track the disease, which have emerged in some countries".

The enterprise-facing blockchain platforms, such as Microsoft, EY and ConsenSys’ Baseline Protocol, have been already embracing zero-knowledge proofs as a means to protect sensitive data whilst cooperating with other entities.

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